Over the years, Search Engine Marketing (SEM) has received a bad rep, with discontent stemming from business owners and the general online public. Business owners are afraid of paying enormous fees and user fraud, and the general public feels like the ads displayed on search engines do not accurately represent their search criteria. SEM Pay-Per-Click (PPC) programs have had their fair share of unfavorable opinions and outcomes.
But, being in the world of online marketing and search engines, one things is for sure: SEM PPC programs are more popular now than ever before, and, believe it or not, they produce real, easy to measure results and make lots of businesses thrive.
Now, considering the high cost and potential unfavorable ROI and, at times, poor conversion rates, why would someone want to consider a PPC program?
1. SEM Programs Can Produce Immediate Results In Sales and Lead Generation
Unfortunately, as much as I support Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it’s not an immediate overnight process to first page rankings on Google, and you must take many factors into account in order to achieve results. If a company is looking for immediate results for business promotion and lead generation, SEM can get them there in less than an hour. With Google’s quick ad set-up options, individuals can get themselves on Google’s first page for their relevant keyword terms and start growing their business right away.
2. SEM Campaign Can Guarantee 1st Page Rankings
In the world of online marketing, everyone (qualified or not) is way too eager to start marking promises to business owners for first page rankings on Google. The unfortunate truth is that through SEO efforts, first page rankings can not be “guaranteed”. In the volatile world of online marketing, a site’s rankings, ranking processes and ranking longevity are always changing. SEM programs are the only guaranteed way for a business to be not only on the first page of Google, but lock up the first listing in the ad area.
3. SEM Campaign Can Place You Ahead of Your Competition
Even with first page organic rankings, a business can be lost in the mix of other business who rank around them organically. One of the best ways to generate leads through search engines is to lock up the search engine’s first page real estate. Just like in general advertising, locking up your target market’s active awareness is what drives them to think of your business instead of your competition during their time of need, and the same principal applies with active real estate on Google.
4. Unlike Other Advertising Options, It’s Easy to Track the Performance of an SEM Campaign
One of the hardest and probably most overlooked things in advertising is tracking the performance of an advertising promotional campaign, both online and traditional included. Businesses can spend thousands if not millions of dollars on advertising and at the end of the day may not even know if their investment was worth the efforts. The overall nature of SEM campaigns is designed in such a way that business owners can easily track their PPC investments and control their budgets on a daily basis and stay on track toward a positive return. This allows the business owner to make an intelligent decision for their future marketing efforts when deciding whether or not they should continue the advertising efforts through the SEM program.
Having said all this, I don’t want it to sound like that the SEM PPC program is the right and the best solution for every business or every scenario. With proper examination of each business’s marketing model, online presence and industry patterns, a well designed and administered SEM program can be a very powerful aid in growing a business and generating quality leads. In my opinion, it’s always worth a thought.